Kay Tye, PhD


Systems Neurobiology Laboratory

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

Wylie Vale Chair

Kay Tye
Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Videos


Making a memory positive or negative

LA JOLLA—Researchers at the Salk Institute and colleagues have discovered the molecule in the brain responsible for associating good or bad feelings with a memory. Their discovery, published in Nature on July 20, 2022, paves the way for a better understanding of why some people are more likely to retain negative emotions than positive ones—as can occur with anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Read More »

How the brain encodes social rank and “winning mindset”

LA JOLLA—If you’re reaching for the last piece of pizza at a party and see another hand going for it at the same time, your next move probably depends both on how you feel and whom the hand belongs to. Your little sister—you might go ahead and grab the pizza. Your boss—you’re probably more likely to step back and give up the slice. But if you’re hungry and feeling particularly confident, you might go for it. Read More »

Kay Tye


BS, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Minor in Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PhD, Neuroscience, University of California at San Francisco


Awards & Honors

  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, 2021
  • Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists, 2021
  • Tsuneko And Reiji Okazaki Award, 2019
  • New York Stem Cell Foundation, Neuroscience Robertson Investigator Award, 2015-2019
  • McKnight Scholar Award, 2015-2018
  • National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award, 2017
  • Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award, 2016
  • Daniel X. Freedman Award, 2016
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2016
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Research (UROP) Faculty Mentor, 2015
  • Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award, 2015
  • BCS Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising, 2015
  • Sloan Research Fellowship, 2014
  • Commitment to Caring MIT Graduate Mentoring Award, 2014
  • American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Associate Member, 2014
  • Technology Review’s "Top 35 Innovators Under 35," 2014
  • NARSAD Young Investigator Award, 2013-2014
  • National Institutes Of Health Director’s New Innovator Award, 2013-2018
  • Klingenstein Foundation Award, 2013-2015
  • Whitehead Career Development Professorship, 2013-2015
  • Whitehall Foundation Award, 2012-2014
  • Kavli Foundation Frontiers Fellow, 2012
  • Jeptha H. And Emily V. Wade Fund Award, 2012
  • Stanford University Postdoctoral Award (Best in Bioengineering), 2010
  • National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2009-2012
  • European Brain and Behavior Society Postdoctoral Fellow Award, 2009
  • Donald B. Lindsley Prize in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2009
  • Harold M. Weintraub Award for Outstanding Achievement in Biosciences, 2009
  • National Science Foundation Research Fellow, 2005-2008